FIPA Inc. ( a leading manufacturer of advanced vacuum technology, gripper systems, air nippers, tube lifters, and End-of-Arm-Tooling (EOAT), recently designed and installed an alternative package handling solution for PCA Roboter- und Verpackungstechnik GmbH, which has specialized in powerful, innovative palletizing and packing systems for more than 20 years. Challenged to efficiently remove filled cardboard boxes weighing up to 44 lbs. and ranging from 9.5” to 14” in length and 8.5” to 9.5” in width from crates, place them on a roller conveyor, and, in reverse order, to place cardboard packages in crates, FIPA developed an extremely flexible, cost- and energy-efficient, and process-reliable vacuum gripping system capable of handling both individual cardboard boxes and whole layers of boxes without changing grippers or wasting vacuum flow and related energy costs, regardless of the position of the packages.

Employing a customized TC Series vacuum gripper mounted to a Z-axis to generate the vertical lift movement required to place the cardboard packages in a crate and vice versa, FIPA’s economical and process-reliable custom handling solution can accurately pick packages from both crates and the roller conveyor despite the absence of an accurately defined position. Featuring custom integrated valves capable of turning off suction openings that don't come into direct contact with a package, FIPA’s custom solution also conserves energy and mitigates operating costs. Designed to beat current system requirements to save on future operating expenses, FIPA’s custom solution can handle loads weighing up to 66 lbs. with surface areas up to 9.5” x 13”.

“Our extensive range of customizable and extremely reliable material handling and EOAT components, combined with the support of our highly experienced design and construction teams, allows us to deliver efficient, cost-effective, and customer-specific solutions for any material handling challenge at remarkably competitive prices,” says Rainer Mehrer, president of FIPA.

FIPA’s TC Series maximum-life, minimum-maintenance vacuum grippers feature EPDM sealing foam for gentle product contact and optimum vacuum sealing, and integrated valves for closing suction openings and saving energy when not in use. Enabling fast and uniform vacuum distribution, TC Series vacuum grippers ensure short cycle times and high acceleration rates, and enable the automated handling of both individual packages and layers of packages without changing grippers to accommodate additional products, rigid products, or even those with uneven surfaces. Featuring a vacuum located inside of the vacuum tubing, the optional gripper box reduces gripping time and contains special valves with excellent suction power for fast evacuation or venting, and, for reduced sensitivity to dirt, large valve openings for maximum suction power.